SPRING HOPE — The Nash County Health Department now says it's advisory to people living in the town of Spring Hope will probably hold throughout this weekend. Residents were told not to drink the water running into their homes, because the potentially dangerous fecal coliform bacteria has been found in a well in Spring Hope.
As a precaution everyone in Spring Hope has been asked to boil their water for at least 5 minutes before using it, even for cooking or washing dishes. People are also discouraged from bathing in the water.
It looks clear, but two tests in two weeks have come up positive for fecal coliform in the Spring Hope water supply. At Spring Hope Elementary school, staff members aren't taking any chances. They have turned off the water completely and are using bottled water. School bathroom facilities are working normally.
"You really worry about the health of your child," explains Principal Frank Lamm. "Our central office and our teachers and staff make certain the safety and the well-being of the children come first."
Town manager Al Williams is also concerned about the town's 1,500 residents. That's why he and health officials have put citizens on a boil water notice. He says putting large amounts of chlorine into the system should kill any bacteria.
"We're trying to fix the problem as soon as possible," says Williams. "But for their safety, the chlorine killing agent has been increased to make sure there is no bacteria in the system."
The Nash County health director says if people take precautions, no one should get sick.
"We're not anticipating an outbreak or an epidemic of any proportions," Bill Hill explains. "That's what public health is all about-- preventing those outbreaks. If people take the necessary precautions, they will be asymptomatic and will not even know they've had any problems with contamination."
The bacteria is found in fecal matter and can cause gastrointestinal problems. Side effectscanbe serious, but there is no word yet on exactly how much fecal coliform is in the water, or when it will no longer be a threat.
OnLine Producers:Kerrie HudzinskiandMJ Ainsley